Helping Job Seekers When You're Not Hiring

by Jeannie Walters

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Help Wanted AdsIt may be getting better, but it’s not great yet. I don’t know about you, but I still know quite a few people looking for work. Within the last few weeks, I’ve had to really create a system to help those I know.

I’m not hiring. I don’t really have plans to hire for a while. I say this because I don’t really want to get inundated with irrelevant resumes.

So I’ll say it again: NOT HIRING.

However, I know people. Some of them need to hire smart people. Chances are I know smart people. (I like to surround myself with people WAY smarter than me. I learn from my posse everyday.) I’ve been lucky (and diligent) enough to build a tremendous network of people. Some job seekers see that and understand I probably have connections to where they’re applying. Some hiring people see that and understand I know smart people who are looking.

But some days are busier than others, and let’s face it, we all have our battles to wage on a daily basis. There are carpools to remember, prospects to woo, and bills to pay. It’s easy to nod along and sincerely hope you can help a friend or former colleague find the next great opportunity, and then lose sight of that completely.

Honestly, if we’ve never worked with someone specifically or if we’ve never worked somewhere, we are putting our own reputations on the line when we play matchmaker. There are loads of lovely people out there who I would never hire or work for. Not necessarily because of them, but because it’s not a good fit for me. It is human nature, however, to worry about the reputation we create for ourselves by recommending others.

I decided not to care. After all, I’m honest about my experiences – I’ve worked with this person or I haven’t – and it’s up to responsible adults to work out the details. Work together or don’t – but don’t say I pushed you into it.

Here’s what I did.

  • I kept a post-it note on my monitor with 4 names of people I knew were looking. I have a general sense of who they are and what they do. This helps me keep my radar up. When I hear someone say “digital marketer” or peripherally catch a job post from my Twitter stream, I can connect the dots a little faster.
  • I posted links on relevant groups when I heard about jobs. Simple, and I’m out of it.
  • My first response to a request of help is to put the onus on the job seeker – check out my LinkedIn contacts and follow the rules on introductions. I’ll pass them along. (This only works if we actually KNOW each other.)
  • I declined offers to review resumes. It’s not my specialty, and it just slows down the process. I will scan and notice if anything stands out, but I had to set my own limits.
  • I also declined “coffee dates” to discuss how I could help them. It’s time-consuming and quite frankly doesn’t do anything more for me. I can understand how I can help without buying you a coffee.
  • I followed up. Whenever I saw that list of names, I remembered I needed to reply/respond/request something.

I don’t know if anything will happen with the links or resumes I’ve forwarded. But at least I did something. I know I would want others to do the same for me, and while it’s easy to get wrapped up in our daily lives, it’s important to pay it forward when we have the opportunity.

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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